Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Simplest Sauce

3 ingredients, that's all you need to make a simple, tasty, tomato sauce: onion, butter and tomatoes. Who knew? When I found out about this sauce over at Smitten Kitchen I had to try it. It just couldn't be very good, could it? So I bought the three ingredients and gave it a whirl. And I have to say, its pretty darn good. It's simple, it's easy, it's cheap and it's velvety. It has to be the butter. After all butter makes everything better. Lidia Bastianich always tosses in a pat or two into her sauce. This one is worth keeping in your back pocket for a quick dinner.

The second time I made it, I added in some fresh basil and I liked it even better. A little red pepper flakes can never hurt either, that's on my mental list for my next go around. That's the beautiful thing about pasta sauce, you can doctor it up in so many ways and still never go wrong.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4
  • 1-28 oz can whole peeled Roma tomatoes (San Marzano's are best)
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 5 fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 1 pound egg fettuccine (or other pasta)
  • Salt
In a saucepan, simmer tomatoes, onion, butter and basil leaves for 30-45 minutes. Stir occasionally and crush the tomatoes against the pan with your spoon to break them down. Simmer until the tomatoes are crushed and the onion is softened. Salt to taste.

Meanwhile cook pasta according to the package directions. Top with tomato sauce.

Tip: Buy a good quality imported egg pasta. The difference in taste and texture is worth the extra dollar or two. Good pasta even tastes better as leftovers versus cheap pasta. I go to a local Italian Market and stock up a variety of pasta types to avoid buying it at the grocery store.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Parmesan Toasts with Eggs and Asparagus

Just looking at this photograph makes me want to eat it for dinner again right now...and we just had this for dinner tonight! This is a great simple dish for a light supper or a sophisticated brunch. Aren't they beautiful? I bet this recipe would also work well with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, but why complicate a good thing.

Parmesan Toasts with Eggs & Asparagus
  • 4 slices of thick crusty bread
  • 12 stems of asparagus spears
  • 4 slices of Canadian bacon or prosciutto
  • 4 large eggs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Butter, softened
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
Step 1: Preheat broiler. Lay asparagus spears on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and salt. Roast in broiler for 5 minutes.

Step 2: Fry Canadian bacon in a frying pan over medium-high heat until browned. Set aside.

Step 3: Spread butter generously on bread. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Broil for 1 minute until lightly browned.

Step 4: Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in the frying pan used for bacon. Fry eggs one at a time until over easy, sprinkled with salt and pepper.

On a plate, layer prepared toast, Canadian bacon, 3 asparagus stalks and one egg.

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